25 August 2008

After Beijing


I watched the final closing spectacle of the Games, astonished and somewhat perplexed. No doubt the totalitarian host country surpassed itself in the quality of the event. I am distressed by unspoken political overtones. However, the athletes experienced wonderful conditions over the seventeen days of the XXIX Olympiad, and they deserve the best.

Canada’s 18 medals equal the number obtained in Barcelona 1992, less than the 22 in Atlanta 1996. The haul was 3 gold, 9 silver, and 6 bronze. The country’s support of its √©lite athletes is trivial, even pitiful compared to programmes in Commonwealth countries like Australia and Great Britain.

I watched quite a bit of the Olympics over the past two weeks, as much in awe of the disappointments and failures as of the successes.

In fairness, Canada's excellent standing in winter sports should be remembered. At the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin in 2006 Canada ranked fifth with 24 medals (7 gold, 10 silver, 7 bronze). Vancouver is the venue for the XXI Games in 2010.